Rebekah Carr will leave the Air Force in September after seven years.

Job hunt

For more information on jobs, go to or

On Wednesday, the downtown Charleston resident and hundreds of veterans, spouses and military members poured through the doors of the Redbank Club in Goose Creek, seeking jobs, connecting with employers and trying to get a leg up on the next stage of their lives.

Altogether, more than 600 people trekked to the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair on the Naval Weapons Station, where more than 50 employers handed out information, talked with prospective employees and stacked up resumes.

"This is fabulous," event organizer Ernie Lombardi with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation said of the turnout. "But it's not surprising. Charleston has a real big military community."

Job seekers

Carr, 29, an analyst for potential threats to aircraft at Charleston Air Force Base, said she and her husband, Nick, a C-17 cargo plane pilot, will leave the military at the same time.

"I'm not looking for anything specific," she said. "I'm trying to broaden my mind."

Jeromy LeVeck, 35, of Goose Creek left the Army in 2012 after 14 years. He's now a stay-at-home dad looking after a 5-month-old boy while his wife works at Lieber Correctional Institution near Ridgeville.

"I'm looking for anything," the one-time Charleston Southern University student said. "I'm an open book. The military is the only thing I have really ever done since I was 17."

Vanessa Johnson, 27, is the spouse of an Air Force aviation maintenance worker. The certified nursing assistant is not working and looked Wednesday for something that would give her more experience.

"I'm looking for an administrative assistant job," the mother of a 2-year-old said.

Of the several companies she spoke with, including the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Bank of America, Charleston County and home health agencies, she said most of them instructed her to apply online.

Matthew Roberts, 28, drove from Beaufort to test the waters for job opportunities. The seven-year Marine will leave the military in January and wanted to start looking now.

"I'm trying to get my foot in the door somehow," he said. "I don't expect to find a job today."

He mainly looked at the State Ports Authority and transportation companies since he is halfway through seeking a bachelor's in logistics and transportation.

Jackie Trail, 27, of James Island, is married to a National Guardsman.

She was looking for a position in social work and tried her luck with the Medical University of South Carolina and Roper Hospital.

They referred her to their websites and offered her tips to make her resume stand out.

"Play up your strengths," she said.

Joe Mancy left the Air Force in 2010 as the operation group commander for C-17s based in North Charleston.

His family still lives in Summerville, but he now works for a company in Fort Worth, Texas, and wants to return to the Charleston area.

"I'm really interested in seeing what companies are offering," he said.

Who's hiring

Employers manning the booths at the job fair ran the gamut from retailers to heavy industries, and they came from other cities and states as well.

The fire department from Greensboro, N.C., fielded queries from interested applicants while Rock Hill's police department was on hand to recruit.

Even Georgia's Gwinnett County Police Department from the suburbs of Atlanta showed up.

"We're looking for police officers and communication officers, 911 operators," said officer Eric Rooks. "I've had quite a few people who are willing to relocate."

Gwinnett was looking for about 30 positions to be filled.

Verizon, which has a call center in North Charleston with between 800 and 900 workers, was looking for about five dozen more.

"We are really building up that center," said Jonathan Coart, Verizon supervisor of customer service. "We see Charleston continuing to develop. Strayer University is on site so employees can go to work and school without leaving the center."

Defense contractor KSH Solutions of North Charleston offers information technology and communication to the federal government, said Jessica Mathias, recruiting manager.

"We're looking for network engineers, desktop support and systems administrators," she said.

Lombardi, the event organizer whose territory includes the Southeast, said the foundation conducts follow-ups with employers at the job fairs in 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals to see how many people found work.

"Generally, 13 to 14 percent of those who attend are hired," he said.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Joint Base Charleston and South Carolina Works hosted the event.

"We want to make sure we take care of our veterans," said James Bowman, spokesman for Joint Base Charleston, which provided the Redbank Club for the job fair.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or